Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Ubuntu Tweak

If you use windows and like to change things that normally are either very hidden or are simply not given as an option to you then you probably use one of the famous tweak tools, such as TweakXP, or Microsoft's Power Toys add on.

Thankfully for those of us who use Ubuntu, their is available an app called Ubuntu Tweak.

As it states on their homepage, in the 'home' tab:

"Ubuntu Tweak is an application to config Ubuntu easier for everyone.

It provides many useful desktop and system options that the default desktop environment doesn't provide.

With its help, you will enjoy with the experience of Ubuntu!"

Here is a list of some of the features available though Ubuntu Tweak:

Features of Ubuntu Tweak

* View of Basic System Information (Distribution, Kernel, CPU, Memory, etc.)
* GNOME Session Control
* Auto Start Program Control
* Quick install popular applications
* A lot of third-party sources to keep applications up-to-date
* Clean unneeded packages or cache to free disk space
* Show/Hide and Change Splash screen
* Show/Hide desktop icons or Mounted Volumes
* Show/Hide/Rename Computer, Home, Trash or Network icon
* Tweak Metacity Window Manager's style and behaviour
* Compiz Fusion settings, Screen Edge Settings, Window Effect Settings, Menu Effect Settings
* Set the Shortcuts to archive quicker access your favourite applications
* GNOME Panel Settings
* Nautilus Settings
* Advanced Power Management Settings
* System Security Settings
* And many other in process...

If you would like this app for yourself, it's available at

Monday, November 29, 2010

GIMP is no gimp!

G.I.M.P. (GNU Image Manipulation Program) is an amazing piece of software.

If you are interested in photo editing, artwork, advertisement or any other use you may have for digital images, this program can change them in any way you see fit.

If you are a graphic design student you know Adobe Photoshop and GIMP intimately.

What's special about GIMP?

GIMP can quite literally do everything Photoshop can do, minus the very expensive price.

Adobe's Photoshop runs at about $199.00 for the professional version.

GIMP is free.

It's hard for me to do an decent job describing just how usefull this program is, being I don't personally use this software very often, or for much more than simple tasks, so here is what the programmers have to say about their unique image editor:

"GIMP is an acronym for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed program for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring.

It has many capabilities. It can be used as a simple paint program, an expert quality photo retouching program, an online batch processing system, a mass production image renderer, an image format converter, etc.

GIMP is expandable and extensible. It is designed to be augmented with plug-ins and extensions to do just about anything. The advanced scripting interface allows everything from the simplest task to the most complex image manipulation procedures to be easily scripted."

The feature list: (not complete)

* Painting
o Full suite of painting tools including Brush, Pencil, Airbrush, Clone, etc.
o Sub-pixel sampling for all paint tools for high quality anti-aliasing
o Extremely powerful gradient editor and blend tool
o Supports custom brushes and patterns
* System
o Tile based memory management so image size is limited only by available disk space
o Virtually unlimited number of images open at one time
* Advanced Manipulation
o Full alpha channel support
o Layers and channels
o Multiple Undo/Redo (limited only by diskspace)
o Editable text layers
o Transformation tools including rotate, scale, shear and flip
o Selection tools including rectangle, rounded rectangle, ellipse, free, fuzzy
o Foreground extraction tool
o Advanced path tool doing bezier and polygonal selections.
o Transformable paths, transformable selections.
o Quickmask to paint a selection.
* Extensible
o A Procedural Database for calling internal GIMP functions from external programs as in Script-fu
o Advanced scripting capabilities (Scheme, Python, Perl)
o Plug-ins which allow for the easy addition of new file formats and new effect filters
o Over 100 plug-ins already available
* Animation
o Load and save animations in a convenient frame-as-layer format
o MNG support
o Frame Navigator (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)
o Onion Skin (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)
o Bluebox (in GAP, the GIMP Animation Package)
* File Handling
o File formats supported include bmp, gif, jpeg, mng, pcx, pdf, png, ps, psd, svg, tiff, tga, xpm, and many others
o Load, display, convert, save to many file formats
o SVG path import/export
* Much, much more!

If you are interested in GIMP the official website is here.

(Thank you for the reminder, Andrew.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

picascii not picasso

In my search for unusual or opensource software, i found a unique website.

If you have ever seen "ascii art" then you know what i mean.

If not here is a small demonstration:

Notice how the picture is made of keyboard characters? (0-9), (a-z)?

That's ASCII art.

As Wikipedia states:

"ASCII art is a graphic design technique that uses computers for presentation and consists of pictures pieced together from the 95 printable (from a total of 128) characters defined by the ASCII Standard from 1963 and ASCII compliant character sets with proprietary extended characters (beyond the 128 characters of standard 7-bit ASCII)." is a website that takes photos and turns them into ascii art.

If you are interested in making a picture of yours ascii'd, here is the website:


Monday, October 25, 2010


I want to mention FileHippo because it is one of my favorite places to download the software I and my clients use.

I like FileHippo because they have a running list of all the available versions of a software title, not just the latest version, and they keep me informed as to what is the latest via this process.

Also most if not all of the software is free, with a little of it being free trial.

Here is what FileHippo has to say for themselves:

"With our aim is to provide you with the simplest method of downloading the newest versions of the best software - without the usual excessive popups or spyware and without the low quality software.

* Only the best software, we focus on quality not quantity.
* Very fast servers with 100Mb connections, to make your downloads as fast as possible.
* We keep the old versions of programs, so if you update and don't like the new version, you can always return to the old one.
* All software is 100% spyware and virus free.
* Filtering feature to allow you to only show Freeware and/or Non-beta software.
* Full support for resuming downloads and download managers.
* Change log and technical details for downloads.
* RSS feeds for all updates, categories and for individual programs.
* New European and US download servers.
* Optimized pages for faster browsing.
* Update Checker to scan your machine for old software."


Monday, October 18, 2010

Amusing myself - Cowsay

I was messing around with programs you can run straight from the terminal in linux and found a program called cowsay.

It's a goofy little entirely useless program that puts in ascii art whatever you tell the cowsay command to do.

For instance: "cowsay Welcome to Dennys Homeworld" (minus the quotes) produced this:

(I added the apostrophe afterwards...)

Well atleast it gave me something to write about. There are actually quite a lot of apps for terminal alone, and if you dont mind getting out of gui for a while it's kind of fun to mess around with.

Some are very beneficial like lynx which doesnt open any images and is strictly text, which can protect you from virus attacks and the like.


Sunday, September 5, 2010


As I mentioned earlier, I was looking for an os that not only was as compact as possible (like Damn Small Linux) but also capable of being a full featured os if need be.

Well I found it in Slitaz.

The Slitaz people have done what I thought was impossible... a fully functional os in a 30 mg iso!

I installed Slitaz natively to see if it could live up to my hopes and dreams.

In about 20 minutes I was running firefox with java support, flashplayer support, full graphics driver support, and ready to rock!

Then I installed virtualbox and ran windows xp from a vbox hd file i had created earlier...

I am totally impressed with Slitaz,

It's my newest weapon in my arsenal of computer repair as well.

With very quick boot times and the ability to read and write to ntfs, I use it to fix Windows PC's.

I give Slitaz 10 out of 10 stars!

You can download it here:

Slitaz at Softpedia

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Duck Duck Go search engine

I found this while wading knee deep in an Ubuntu forum.

Duck Duck Go is a search engine designed to have the minimalistic look of google, but with so much less advertisement.

As the website itself states:

Use DuckDuckGo instead of Google and get:
• Zero-click info — useful info above the links.
• Privacy — we do not track you. Google does.
• Less spam & ads — 60,000,000+ useless sites gone.
• Official sites — labeled and on top.
• Targeted results — for ambiguous terms.
• Keyboard shortcuts — forget the mouse.
• Customization — change the fonts and more.
• No clutter — just results, not that other stuff.
• Search other sites — check out !bang syntax.
• Categories — explore related topics.
• Favicons — site icons next to results.
And actually get a response to your feedback!

Although Google does respond to feedback, It is a lot slower.

I think a lot of people will benefit from this.

Another reason I like this search engine, is if you type anything, and i mean anything, like for instance poop, on google, you will get an add that says buy poop now! or buy poop here!

Senseless ads, my one reason for not liking google as much as I used to.

If your interested in this search engine go here:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Virtualbox is a program that lets you run a virtual machine. It's free, and exceptionally useful.

Virtualbox allows you to install virtually everything from windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7 to Ubuntu and other linux distros, without changing your computer in any way.

You set up a file that represents a hd in the virtual machine, then choose a iso, or use a cd to install your OS.

If you have ever wondered what a linux dsitro looks like, how something functions or if you would like to run an os, like ubuntu but are stuck with windows, and don't like the idea of dual booting, this may be the best solution.

You can download it here:

Monday, July 12, 2010

It's SIW good

"SIW is an advanced System Information for Windows tool that gathers detailed information about your system properties and settings and displays it in an extremely comprehensible manner."

Skipping the sales pitch, it's a free hardware diagnostic tool I always carry with me on pc repair jobs.

I use SIW mostly for finding out what hardware is inside without opening the case.

It's the best system information tool I have ever seen, and I have looked through most of them.

If you would like to add SIW to your arsenal, go here:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Free Download Manager

I found this while scrounging around the net for a decent downloader, and I think i found a gem.

FDM allows you to restart most downloads, it comes with software to try and defend you against malicious software downloads, and my favorite, it allows you to seed your download with other download mirrors.

So for instance, you want to download program.exe. you download it from the sight you find it, the if you google the same program (the download, in other words google program.exe, for example) and find a mirror for it, you can then add it to the download in FDM and it will then get that program from the mirrors you give it. Very useful for speedier downloads, and for those of us who have a net connection that seems to go up and down in transfer speed like a yo yo.

You can download FDM here:


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

7 Zip a totally free multi format archiver

Today there are so many programs out on the net for free, some of which are compressed to speed up the transfer between computers. To uncompress them you need a program.

7Zip does an excellent job, is free, and has no ad-ware in it.

It's my personal favorite for my windows machine, and it's a solid part of my linux machine as well.

If you are interested in this awesome program, go here:

P.S. if you are a linux person using debian or some other program for getting your updates, getting 7zip is as easy as typing '7zip' (no quotes) in synaptic or other package fetcher)...


Friday, April 30, 2010

VLC Media Player

I wanted to talk about VLC Media Player today, have you ever been looking for that program that plays all your media? something that will play your music files (like mp3, m4a, wma, etc.) your dvd's, your music videos, your home video, whatever it is VLC will do it.

I found VLC looking for a good free dvd player, and was coming up short utill i found VLC.

If you have a media collection you might want to give this a try!


Monday, April 26, 2010

No Script is good Script

I have been wanting to talk about this for a while.

For those of you who are big into security, say hello to noscript!

NoScript is a plugin that installs into firefox. (FireFox is a web browser)

NoScript Blocks all script unless you ok it. (A few sites already added, such as google.)

This make firefox with noscript very secure, no website will be able to activate any script from active x to javascript and all ways inbeetween unless you give the go ahead.

I use it to allow the webpage i want to run their scripts, but not the advertisement sites that accompany some of them.

Besides a defensive tool, it kind of teaches you, you'll be amazed at just how many places you are actually connecting to whe you go to a webpage.

You can download FireFox here:

And then download Noscript here:

One last thing, if you notice parts of a webpage arent loading properly it's probably because that website is blocked. After noscript is intalled, on the bottom right of firefox's windows will be a S with or without a slash through it, click on it, and "allow" that website.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Droid using Android

One of my friends is a staunch supporter of Microsoft products.

He was really impressed with a friends new phone, a Droid running the Android OS.

I informed him that the OS (Operating System) he was impressed with "Android" is a version of Linux.

I am seeing more and more people interested in linux, besides the price for linux distrobutions usually being free, there is also the ability to do almost everything windows does, with the exception of a few 3D video games and a few windows programs.

I think your going to see big things come from the Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS versions of Linux.
I believe we will soon see a Linux OS that can run 100% of all windows apps.

What that would mean to someone that chooses linux is that they would be able to run all windows apps, all linux apps, and a lot of, if not all of Mac's apps.

(An app, short for application, is a program. anything you run, from notepad or word, to a video game is known as an app.)